Monday, 2 July 2012

Sharia: what does it say about Jihad?

This is the third in the series “Sharia: what does it say about….”
The source of all these topics is set out in that first post.
The topics are not in order of importance or alphabetically. They follow the index in the source text, the Umdat al-Salik, p.1168 (Amana Publications) and the references are to that edition.
What Sharia says about Jihad is below the fold:
Jihad means war against non-Muslims:
“Jihad means to war against non-Muslims and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.  And it is the lesser jihad.  As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said as he was returning from jihad,
“‘We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.’
“The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus (def: b7) is such Koranic verses as:
“(1) ‘Fighting is prescribed for you’ (Koran 2:216)
“(2) ‘Slay them wherever you find them’ (Koran 4:89)
“(3) ‘Fight the idolators utterly’ (Koran 9:36)
“and such hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,
“‘I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah…’
“and the hadith reported by Muslim,
“‘To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.’
“Details concerning jihad are found in the accounts of the military expeditions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), including his own martial forays and those on which he dispatched others.  The former consist of the ones he personally attended, some twenty-seven (others say twenty-nine) of them. He fought in eight of them, and killed only one person with his noble hand, Ubayy ibn Khalaf, at the battle of Uhud.  On the latter expeditions he sent others to fight, himself remaining at Medina, and these were forty-seven in number.” (o9.0)
Comment: the battles in which Muhammad took part are recorded in the official Muslim biography of his life, “The Life of Muhammad”, by Ibn Ishaq, known as the Sirah of Muhammad.  It clearly shows his military bent.  Cf: Jesus.
Jihad is obligatory on all  Muslims:
“Jihad is a communal obligation. (o.9.1)
“Jihad is also obligatory for everyone able to perform it, male or female, old or young when the enemy has surrounded the Muslims…” (o9.3)
“Those called upon to perform jihad when it is a communal obligation are every able-bodied man who has reached puberty and is sane.” (o9.4)
The objective of jihad is to fight Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians….:
“The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians… until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4)… in accordance with the word of Allah Most High,
“‘Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden – who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book – until they pay the poll tax our of hand and are humbled (Koran 9.29)’.” (o9.8)
Comment: there has been no caliph since the downfall of the Ottoman Empire in 1924.  The reestablishment of the global caliphate is an urgent task of modern Islamism.
….the objective of jihad is ALSO to fight  “all others”…
“The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim.” (o9.9)
Comment: if you read this article, you find that there are some loopholes: that “people of the Book” -- aka Christians and Jews --are given the choice of converting to Islam, paying the jizya poll tax or being killed; whereas those “not of the book” are simply killed if they don’t convert. Whereas according to some in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam, all people – people of the Book and those not of the Book -- should be given the choice of convert, pay jizya tax or die.  Seems a pretty grim choice both ways and hardly a concession in the latter case.
Truces should only be negotiated when Islam is not “uppermost”:
“Truces are permissible, not obligatory.  The only one who may effect a truce is the Muslim ruler of a region…
“There must be some interest served in making a truce other than mere preservation of the status quo. Allah Most High says,
‘So do not be fainthearted and call for peace, when it is you who are the uppermost’” (o9.16)
Comment: this is clearly what drives the various cease-fires in the Israeli-Palestinian battle: Hamas and others only call for it when they are weak and need to rearm.
Lying for jihad is permissible:
“….lying is sometimes permissible for a given interest, scholars having established criteria defining what types of it are lawful” (o8.1)
Comment: to be sure lying is part of war.  In the case of Islam, it has become entrenched in the concept of taqiyya.
Muslims fighting jihad are entitled to spoils of battle:
“A free male Muslim who has reached puberty and is sane is entitled to the spoils of battle when he has participated in a battle to the end of it.” (o10.0)
Sufis also took part in jihad by the sword:
“Among the Sufis who aided Islam with the sword as well as the pen… are such men as….” (w9.4)
Comment: Sufis are often held out as the purely mystical side of Islam.  This article, w9.4, sets out how they spread Islam by the sword from the “Libyan Desert to Sub-Saharan Africa” and to “southern Soviet Union” (this section being a Note and Appendix to the Umdat al-Salik).